基金项目:国家自然科学基金(51304051); 福建省自然科学基金(2016J01224); 福州大学通识教育选修核心课程建设项目(50000873)
(College of Environment and Resources,Fuzhou University,Fuzhou 350116,China)
In the information age,Internet is the most widely used tool for individuals or organizations to collect information that is relevant to accident prevention and analysis.In this paper,the websites that disseminate safety information in China were investigated systematically.All kinds of the safety websites were reviewed,referring to the governments,associations,periodicals,and companies; the proposed classifications were given for safety website categories,such as comprehensive and special websites.Some problems for Chinese safety websites were pointed out,and the main design parameters that play an important role in safety websites were put forward,including the information content,usability,visual aspects,technical adequacy,communication,etc.
With the rapid development of economy in China,all sorts of safety accidents take place frequently,seriously threatening people's daily life.Road traffic accident,mine accident,and shipping accident are the top three accidents ranking by death toll rate(Zhang,2010).As the second largest automobile market in the world,China has a very high number of road fatalities with about 100 000 reported fatalities each year(Zhang et al,2010).Despite the substantial contribution of coal industry to China's economic development,thousands of miners are killed in coal mining each year with consistently high coal mining fatality rate(Wang et al.,2014).These accidents can be attributed to the lack of essential technical or scientific knowledge(Papadaki,2008; Yang,2012).In other words,information is vital in everyday health and safety activities.
In this information-based society,large and old enterprises are more likely to have access to the Internet,and Internet access shows strong and positive relationships with enterprises'economic and innovative performance(Sun & Wang,2005).Similarly,a vast amount of safety-related information is increasingly available on the Internet.Abeytunga(1995)describes the electronic information services of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety,which is to promote a healthier and safer workplace by on-line computer network called CCINFOline.Wood-Black and Pasquarelli(1999)revisit some key association and professional society sites and examine how they handle the topic of safety.Nivolianitou et al.(2001)introduce a European Thematic Network on Process Safety,of which the aim is to reduce the time delay between research results and their practical use in the field of process industry safety.Marcellus(2003)presents the computerized resources of the Environment,Health and Safety Programme of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.Zimmerman(2009)expounds a website hosted by the National Network for Immunization Information to provide scientifically valid information about immunization issues.Li et al(2011)investigate the websites related to food safety reports and analyzed the description style of food safety issues in the reports.
It can be seen the Internet plays an important role in eliminating barriers to safety information access,and safety professionals are increasingly turning to the Internet for answers on all aspects of safety problems(Cebi,2013).The Internet increasingly provides easy access to health and safety information for general population.However,some safety information provided on the Internet is not always reliable or updated.Due to the lack of regulation and guidance,it is difficult for the public or professionals to distinguish accurate from inaccurate safety sources on the Internet(Gao et al.,2013).
Nowadays,the Internet has been greatly developed in China.It has been reported that Chinese Internet penetration rate rose to 42.1%,and corresponding Internet population reached 564 million by December 2012(China Internet Network Information Center,2013).Therefore,it is necessary to know if and how the Internet on safety is used by Chinese population,but no relevant studies have been reported,and no paper refers to the present situation of Chinese websites related to safety information.No studies describe their common attributes,design characteristics,resources and aspects that should be improved.
To identify websites disseminating safety information and to examine the attributes and resources of safety websites,the qualities and characteristics of safety websites in China are reviewed,and corresponding suggestions are given for further improvement in this paper.
As the quickly updated information technology in recent years,there are diverse Chinese Internet sites of government agencies,professional societies and other associations,which can provide important safety information.
With regard to different purposes,the website types are variously classified.Cebi(2013)summarized five classification methods of websites.Generally speaking,the main objective of most websites is to gain profit except governments'and some civil organizations'websites.For understanding the establishment of site releasing safety information systematically,safety websites in China are classified as Fig.1 in this paper.
dissimilating safety resourcesThese are profit safety websites,nonprofit safety websites,and mixed type.The profit websites include some company websites of safety technology,safety consultation,and safety equipment sale,etc.The site investors have expected financial returns,so these websites earn money by promoting their own services or advertising.Accordingly,most of government and association websites related to safety information can be regarded as nonprofit websites.Based on the concrete information content,safety websites can be also classified into two categories,including comprehensive and special safety websites.The comprehensive websites refer to all kinds of safety information,which contain substantial safety information on all fields,such as mining,transportation,campus,chemical industry,and so on. However,the special safety websites deal withsome information in a specific field,such as construction,fire protection,power industry,etc.
In order to adapt the present information environment,numerous periodicals of safety science are becoming increasingly available on the Internet.The Internet-based Chinese safety periodicals have established websites and published in popular HTML(Hypertext Markup Language)format for non-subscribers to download or read the latest research papers relevant to safety information online.The main web directories for Chinese safety science periodicals are shown in Table 1.
These journals provide a wide coverage of general updated safety information,including the safety physics,safety engineering,and safety management.
The Internet has become a powerful platform to disseminate government information related to safety,which can be classified into the following five source types: news and report,administrative information,regulation and policy,public service information,information compilation(Chen et al.,2013).Fig.2 shows the main Chinese government agencies disseminating safety information,and the corresponding websites are given in Table 2.
In China,there are professional websites like http://www.cosha.org.cn/,which was created by China Occupational Safety and Health Association.The COSHA is a national,non-governmental,non-profit organization composed of people who are interested and(or)working in occupational health and safety management,or research center,as well as colleges and other organizations.These websites allow safety professionals to submit questions directly to safety specialists.
Most safety-related websites are created by government or associations,and do contain a significant amount of information on accident cases,safety legislations,and safety standards.
In order to understand the browse frequency of government networks that release safety information,the total page views of six government homepages are analyzed(see Fig.3).It can be found that the website of State Administration of Work Safety,as a special government agency responsible for national-wide supervision of safety production,has a highest hit frequency.To make accident control policies more transparent and efficient,it is a comprehensive safety information source.The pages of government and associations often contain important news on national-wide safety production,daily work trend,public announcement,links to international safety organizations and regional agencies,query service,PowerPoint presentations and videos of safety cases for downloading,and other safety resources(safety science and technology,safety statistics,safety training,safety culture,etc.).
However,these websites are targeted widely(general population),so it may be difficult for safety professionals to obtain some accurate but accessible technical information.
Fig.3 Page views of several government websites related to safety information(At 21:00,October 12th,2013)
These years,occupational-related accidents happened frequently in China(Zhang,2010),causing extremely bad effects in society.This situation promotes the rapid emergence of companies for safety services,like risk assessment,safety consultation,safety detection,etc.The corresponding company websites contain a large number of safety information for financial returns.Table 3 shows several companies and their websites.These websites are designed to earn money by promoting their own services or advertising,such as selling safety equipments and labor protection products,safety personnel recruitment,and public safety conference.
In addition,the safety communication websites refer to special forum,blog and Baidu Post Bar,etc.By these platforms,safety professionals can exchange work experiences in daily safety management.
Based on the statistical analysis made above,it can be found there are substantial websites dissimilating safety information in China.These Internet websites contain a large amount of useful information on safety subjects,but some problems can be concluded as follows:
1)Few safety training websites are established on the Internet.As an important tool for preventing accidents,safety training is increasingly being delivered by computer(Wallen&Mulloy,2006).A survey of safety training professionals has found that 70% expected Internet or online training would become the main delivery mode(Overheul,2002).This shift to computer-based training can present safety information in a variety of ways such as videos,audios,pictures,narrations,text,etc(Wallen & Mulloy,2006).
2)Few websites have links to international safety organizations,or the relevant links are outdated,no English page for exchanges with the foreign.It is well-known safety experiences of management and technology in other countries can be of instructive significance for China.For example,there is a high rate of both accidents and occupational injuries in China's coal production,while in the US,Australia,and South Africa,the coal industry is no longer included in the high-risk categories(Chen et al,2013).Therefore,professionals can learn rich safety knowledge from these countries by the Internet links to international safety websites.
3)There is lack of special rural safety knowledge on the Internet.In modern China,150 million children under age 14 live in rural areas(Shen,et al.,2013).These children,especially the left-behind children'face a number of public safety problems,such as dog bites,drowning accidents,food safety,et al.Moreover,China has the world's largest number of elderly population(Su,et al.,2012),and the safety issues of empty-nest elderly living in rural areas should be also considered.It is also proved that rural drivers have lower perceptions of the risks and engage in riskier behaviors(Rakauskas et al,2009),so the need for safety education and enforcement directed at the rural populations is imperative.Although the rate of internet access is generally higher in Chinese cities than in rural areas(Sun & Wang,2005),more and more people in the rural have learned to obtain safety information by Internet.Therefore,it is necessary to build some websites on safety education in rural regions.
4)Many safety sites do not comply with accepted standards and may contain some inaccurate information.It can be concluded that searching for safety knowledge on the Internet may be harmful without appropriate supervision from safety experts on the most reliable websites.In addition,people may distrust safety websites promoted by commercial organizations,while both safety professionals and the general population preferred academic sites,sites of safety journals and government agencies,data confirmed in other studies.Without appropriate guidance,information on the Internet can be harmful,confusing and overwhelming(Skinner et al.,2003).In order to regulate the present websites that release safety information,it is imminent to publish relevant criteria to which sites should adhere.The criteria may be ordered as essential criteria(credibility),important criteria(contents),practical criteria(accessibility)and desirable criteria(design)(Mart nez-Moraa et al,2008).
Effective design of websites helps firms and organizations to reach their aim,which refers to lots of design parameters that play an effective role in website design(Cebi,2013).Safety sites should be systematically evaluated for the design,quality,content and resources.Original and modified definitions of nine electronic service quality dimensions were shown in reference(Tong,2005).Kim and Niehm(2009)summarize the dimensions of website quality identified by researchers,referring to information,security,ease of use,enjoyment,and service quality.Based on the website evaluation model(Cebi,2013),the main design parameters can be considered in safety net web(see Fig.4).
Information Content should be considered as the most important in website design,safety-related information must be accurate,complete,detailed,and logically organized and presented(Cyr,D.,2013).People's perception on factors related to the reliability of safety information on the Internet maybe refer to: corresponds with facts from other sources,references are provided,facts are reviewed by safety experts in the field,continuous updating,governmental institution responsible for the information,respected authors,well-written language,recommended by media,professional lay out,many visitors,and run by a commercial company or an individual(Gao et al,2013).Therefore,these factors must be taken into account in safety information releasing.
Usability means the site users should reach its aim in short time while using the first time and remember the functions presented by the site.Visual design may encompass shapes,colors,images,or font type(Cyr,2013).With respect to technical adequacy,the site should provide quick loading and accessing.Navigation design refers to the navigational scheme used to help or hinder users as they access different sections of a website(De Wulf et al.2006).The consistency of page layout and quick access to navigational features are generally desired(Cyr,2013).Concerning security,the service should protect users from hackers'attack while downloading a file or surfing(Cebi,2013).
There is an increasing recognition that information is essential to identify and solve problems in accident analysis and prevention.The Internet penetration of China is significantly high in recent years,which has become an important source of safety knowledge.Accordingly,a large number of safety-related websites grow rapidly containing substantial information on occupational health and safety.The advantage of the internet is that it offers a convenient,widely accessible source of safety management and education.
In this paper,an investigation of websites dissimilating safety-related information in China was conducted systematically.The classification types for these websites were also proposed(profit,nonprofit,and mixed type; comprehensive and special safety websites).To design an effective safety website,there are various design parameters that must be taken into consideration(information content,usability,visual aspects,technical adequacy,communication,etc.).Moreover,relevant governments,associations,companies,and internet service providers must collaborate to ensure that safety information on each website is reasonable and beneficial.In order to provide people with accurate online safety information,future research is required to confirm who seeks health and safety information by the internet and what kinds of information are most helpful for improving safety situation.A questionnaire survey need be conducted to explore how Chinese people use the internet to acquire safety-related information in daily work and life.In other words,further studies are needed on how to deliver important safety information by the internet,corresponding impact on the public and safety professionals,and how users benefit from safety-related websites.
This study is sponsored by National Natural Science Foundation of China,and Science & Technology Development Foundation of Fuzhou University.